Our group of friends and members of the Section for the Literary Arts and Humanities has met regularly and continuously for ten years. We began as a collaboration with the Section group in southern California. During the time of the Covid Crisis we met weekly on Zoom, and we added persons outside California to our work. The meetings now have a hybrid character—local friends and members attend in-person, while distant friends and members use Zoom. From time to time, as conditions have permitted, the group has attended concerts, plays, and art exhibitions. For the past eighteen months we have worked intensively with Novalis and with writers and themes related to Novalis.
Much detailed information about the Section work in California can be found on the website TheLiteraryArts.com.
The Section work in California has an artistic emphasis. For several years, in addition to literary discussions, we have sponsored Salons. These New Moon Salons are nights of music, original poetry and fiction, dramatic readings, original art, and conversation. The group also hosts poetry readings.
During the time of Covid, we began to offer Literary Videos and recorded talks. These can be found on the website, TheLiteraryArts.com. In August 2021, this video activity increased. We now offer each month at the time of the new moon a “New Moon Salon / Fairy Tale of the Month.” These performance videos of fairy tale can be found on the website and on Vimeo and on YouTube.
In autumn 2021 we will add a new theme and activity: Poets and Landscapes. This new initiative will focus on literatures of California and landscapes in which such literature was imagined. The project will host a close experiential look at the play between nature, elementals, and the being human. Participants will hike and visit literary sites and landscapes such as Big Sur that have inspired poets and writers in California.
Here is a brief list of some of the authors and themes we have discussed and researched over the past ten years.
- Novalis, with emphasis on his primary writings.
- Fairy Tales. Myths and legends.
- Wm. Shakespeare, with emphasis on the late plays.
- Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, with emphasis on the lyric poetry, Faust, Parts 1 and 2, The Elective Affinities, The Sorrows of Young Werther,The Italian Journey, Poetry and Truth, Wilhelm Meister’s Apprenticeship, aspects of various biographies of Goethe, reader reception of Goethe during the late romantic and early modernist periods, Goethe’s importance to Rudolf Steiner and the anthroposophical movement, and selected scientific writings and writings on art and literature.
- Owen Barfield, with emphasis on Barfield’s affiliation with The Inklings, Saving the Appearances, Romanticism Comes of Age, selected essays, poems, and lectures, and children’s stories.
- George MacDonald
- Michael Ende
- Christian Morgenstern
- Major and minor poets of British Romanticism, with emphasis on William Blake. This research topic includes writers Mary Godwin Shelley and her mother Mary Wollstonecraft.
- John Milton, with emphasis on Paradise Lost as a determining influence on romanticism.
- Rudolf Steiner, with emphasis on lectures concerning art, literature, mythology, the Mysteries of antiquity and their relevance for our time, and the evolution of human consciousness.
- The Chemical Wedding and related texts of the Rosicrucian Enlightenment.
- Contemporaries of Novalis, with emphasis on the Schlegels and Ludwig Tieck and philosophers and literary theorists active during the late eighteenth century and early nineteenth century.
- Friedrich Schiller, with emphasis on the dramas and Letters on the Aesthetic Education of the Human Being.
- Hermann Hesse, with emphasis on Novalis and the continuity of the early romantic literary tradition.
- James Joyce
- Albert Steffen
- R. M. Rilke, with emphasis on “The Sonnets to Orpheus.”
- Modernism as a context within which to read the events of the Christmas Foundation Conference from a literary perspective.
- Early romanticism as a context within which to read the texts of Anthroposophy from a literary perspective.
- Reader reception of Goethe and Novalis and other related writers of their era as a context within which to better understand from a literary perspective the developments in nineteenth and early twentieth century Europe that led to the Christmas Foundation Conference.
- The Foundation Stone meditation.
- Various special topics in meetings open only to members of the First Class of the School for Spiritual Science. Blue cards are required for these special topic meetings. Details of these meetings are not reported at this time in the meeting summaries.